Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
The idea is to stop kids watching Miley Cyrus. But what about the little opera buffs?
An A-rating for some of these?
At present documentary, educational, music and sports releases can be released as ‘exempt’ from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) approval, unless they contain material that would normally attract a 15 or an 18 certificate (the censors haven’t used an ‘A’ rating for decades).
The changes now proposed by the BBFC would restrict this exemption and would require more music releases, including operas, to be certificated. In effect the threshold for certification is being moved from ’15′ to ’12′. Even so the material shown above would probably still fall within the exemption (for example, the new threshold for ‘nudity’ in such releases to be certificated includes the requirement that genitalia be visible – Natalie Dessay’s faked naked breasts in Giulio Cesare are OK).
Although this change may be being made in response to concerns about pop music videos, Miley Cyrus and her ilk are also likely to still be exempt (and in any case, certification such as this doesn’t apply to TV or the internet where most of the kids will watch these videos).
The main reason for hoping that operas remain exempt is the additional cost associated with certification by the BBFC. For example, the charge for passing a video of Parsifal would be about £2K. As the audience for opera videos is not large, I suspect production companies would prefer not to have this additional charge.
The linked Guardian article is about “Digital Video Services” and not about works released on DVD, Blu-ray or VHS in the UK.
This BBFC webpage may be of interest: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/industry-services/digital-ratings/where-to-use-digital-ratings
“Other popular Digital Video Services
We are working to license all Digital Video Services to ensure that they display our age ratings correctly.
While unlicensed services do not display our age ratings, please be aware that they may still request proof of your BBFC age rating before they will make your title available to their customers.”
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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More Lebrecht @ normanlebrecht.com
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